There is a poetic sense of completeness about four years in leadership. Its the amount of time we give our Presidents to accomplish something before deciding whether to give them four more years or send them packing. Unlike the political world, however, pastoring is not about making promises and making good on those promises. Being a pastor is primarily about casting vision, being faithful and caring for the flock,
Four years ago this month, our family made the slow journey from Illinois with a moving truck filled with all our worldly goods, a lump in our throats from all that we were leaving, and hope in our hearts for all that was to come. In some ways I came to Knoxville with lots of experience but in other ways, I was a novice. I came from Christ Community Church in Murphysboro, Illinois where I had spent nineteen years as the Lead Pastor. I followed a very revered pastor who had served the church for twenty nine years prior to my coming and the transition was smooth and many who began with me in Murphysboro were with me for my entire tenure, and many are still a part of that church today.
In Knoxville, I followed Morris Bagwell, also a revered and beloved pastor who had deceased more than a year before my arrival after and long battle with a debilitating disease. In many ways, coming to Knoxville was like starting over. In fact, after a short time together with the fledgling flock of Bethesda Christian Fellowship, we mutually decided to start fresh with a new name and a fresh vision and in September of 2013 we relaunched the church as Life Church.
Life Church exists to move people far from God toward their highest potential as Christ followers. In four years we have seen the vision take root and people are finding life in a relationship with Jesus. After four years I feel like we are just getting started. New leaders are being developed and the future is bright. God has brought into the fold, talented musicians, passionate worshippers, and great teachers. The church is becoming known for its friendliness and hospitality.
I’m am grateful to God for those who preceded me in Knoxville who were willing to make the leap and be a part of something new. You became our launch team. I’m also grateful to the amazing new people God has brought who have added so much to our congregation.
On a personal note, Knoxville has become home to our family over these years. Natalie graduated from from college and began her career here and married Ben, the former pastor’s grandson. They are happily building a life together and very active in the leadership of the church. Kristiana graduated with high honors from college and remains in Branson, but was a vital part of the beginning of Life Church. Noah recently graduated with high honors from High School and is attending Lee University in the Fall. He has been a key member of our worship team. Melanie serves alongside me and remains one of the hardest working talented ministers of the gospel that I know.
I’m looking forward with great anticipation to what the next four years will bring. No promises, but I’ve got a feeling that THE BEST IS YET TO COME!!!